Philippines says U.S., China eyeing mining opportunities, especially in nickel

By Thomson Reuters May 9, 2024 | 9:19 PM

MANILA (Reuters) – Numerous countries including the United States and China have expressed interest in collaborating with the Philippines for mining opportunities particularly in nickel, its environment minister said on Friday.

Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga in a speech said the Philippines should enhance its nickel processing capacity, a key component for the production of batteries in electric vehicles. She said Australia, Britain, Canada and European Union countries had shown interest in the Philippines.

“Unfortunately, the country currently has only two nickel processing plants, which highlights the need for specific measures to be taken that the administration,” said Loyzaga, whose ministry also oversees mining.

The Philippines is looking to follow in the footsteps of neighbour Indonesia, which has attracted major investment into processing plants for its huge nickel ore deposits, after it banned unprocessed exports in 2020. It is trying to draw big EV makers to the country.

The Philippines’ two nickel processing plants are partly owned by its biggest ore producer, Nickel Asia Corp.

Latest government data shows the Philippines produced 35.14 million dry metric tons of nickel ore last year, up 19% year-on-year.

(Reporting by Mikhail Flores and Karen Lema; Editing by Martin Petty)